New Haven County, CT, Property Division Lawyer
Connecticut Family Assets AttorneyOverview.
Dividing the assets and allocating the debts a divorcing couple has accumulated before and during their marriage is one of the most important components of a post divorce financial plan. This firm assists clients to create asset and debt options that meet their needs and helps them implement their choices.
There is no set formula or mandatory percentage share of asset division and debt allocation. (For example, there is no “50%-50%” rule and the spouse earning the most income during the marriage is not automatically entitled to a greater share of the assets.) For couples choosing an adversarial divorce, before entering property division orders after a trial, a judge is required to consider the following so called statutory criteria.
- Length of marriage
- Cause for the dissolution of the marriage
- Age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, and needs of each of the spouses
- Liabilities of each spouse
- Opportunity for each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income
- Contribution of each spouse in the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates.
Notwithstanding these factors, the trial judge has tremendous discretion in how he or she weighs them and fashions the financial orders. Two judges hearing the same evidence in a trial might enter vastly different orders. Therefore, it is impossible for even the most experienced lawyer to predict the outcome of an asset or debt distribution at trial with any reliability.
In addition, adversarial divorce often results in a property division that satisfies neither spouse’s needs or objectives.
A court may “assign to either the husband or wife all or any part of the estate of the other.” This means that a court can allocate between the spouses all assets and debts in the name of the spouses jointly or either of them individually. For example, a court may order one spouse to transfer title of the family home to the other spouse or order one or both spouses to sell the home. Similarly, a court may order one spouse to transfer to the other all or a portion of his or her pension, IRA, or 401(k) account.
, a court may not make property division orders until the time of judgment. For example, if one spouse wants to sell the family home while the case is pending but the other does not, during the pendente lite period, the court cannot order the home sold or even listed for sale. This limitation on the court’s authority is a source of frustration for many couples litigating their divorce.
In mediation and collaborative cases, at most, the “law” and what a court might order at trial constitute just one standard for the spouses to weigh in creating their post divorce financial plans. Mediation and collaborative clients are not limited to considering what a court is permitted to or might consider important. Similarly, mediated and collaborative settlements are typically better suited for the particular family involved since a) the solutions are created by the spouses for their own family, b) the spouses are not hampered by the same restraints applicable to judges, and c) especially in a collaborative divorce, the couple can take advantage of the expertise of a neutral financial professional jointly retained by them to maximize the post divorce financial plan.